Redmi Note 11S review: all-round successful smartphone for 250 euros
The Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is currently going full throttle again, especially in the middle class. With the new Note 11 series, the Redmi sub-brand presented up to six different devices, covering the entire price range from 200 to 400 euros. In this test report, we want to take a closer look at the Redmi Note 11S, which is available for a recommended retail price of 249,90 euros.
For this price, customers get a high-quality OLED display with a smooth refresh rate of 90 Hertz, the MediaTek Helio G96, a 5.000 mAh battery with 33 watt fast charge, a 108 megapixel quad camera and much more. On paper, the smartphone is completely convincing, but you can find out in this detailed test whether this is also the case in everyday use and whether a purchase is worthwhile.
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Haptics, design & processing
With dimensions of almost 160 millimeters in height and 74 millimeters in width, the Redmi Note 11S has a very pleasant size that many should get along with. It's by no means small, but it's also not as big as this, for example Poco F3 or Redmi Note 11 Pro. Furthermore, the low weight of 179 grams, together with the thickness of 8,09 millimeters and the slightly rounded back, contribute to pleasant handling.
Matt plastic is used on the back, which is much easier to care for and less prone to fingerprints than high-gloss plastic. It also feels noticeably higher quality. Coupled with the plastic frame, which is also matte, the Redmi Note 11S feels noticeably higher quality than its predecessor or the competition from Realme. With Graphite gray, Pearl White and Twilight Blue customers have three beautiful colors to choose from, all of which are matte. I tested the gray variant, which always shimmers slightly differently depending on the incidence of light. In addition to the color, the camera module in the left corner immediately catches the eye, which has the lettering 108 MP AI Camera is decorated. A total of four sensors can be found here and at least the large main sensor protrudes enormously from the case, which is why the smartphone wobbles noticeably when it is used on the table.
If we turn the smartphone around, a large display appears, which is only interrupted by a small punch hole in the middle. Unfortunately, this is not black, but grey/silver, which doesn't really go with the black edges. The edges could be a bit thinner, but for 250 euros I don't want to complain too much here.
Finally, let's take a look at the processing. The case makes a stable, well-made impression and, unlike some other competitors, the back can hardly be dented. In addition, the keys have a very good pressure point, sit sufficiently firmly in the case and are excellently positioned so that you can easily reach them with one hand.
Display - one of the highlights
A 6,43-inch OLED panel is used on the front, which has a pleasantly sharp resolution of 2.400 x 1.080 pixels, so that individual pixels are never visible during everyday use. I only find the resolution of YouTube videos a bit strange, because it seems as if the background is artificially sharpened, which gives a slightly over-sharpened impression, but it didn't really bother me. The screen also supports a smooth refresh rate of 90 Hertz, which makes scrolling and all animations look buttery smooth. In addition, there is a touch sampling rate (indicates how often the panel registers, scans or recognizes inputs in one second) of 180 Hertz.
Both the black and white levels are really good, especially considering the RRP. Colors are reproduced intensively, but still sufficiently realistically, and there is nothing to complain about in terms of viewing angle stability and brightness. The display can even be read on sunny days and the colors only change color when the screen is tilted to extremes.
Software - MIUI 13
The in-house MIUI user interface in version 13, based on Android 11, is used as the software. At the time of the test report, the security patch was up to date in February.
MIUI is a heavily customized user interface that has relatively little in common with stock Android. It is quite colorful and in some places much too confusing in my opinion. There are a number of additional functions, such as "Floating windows": When notifications arrive, they can be pulled down and the app then opens in a small window. You can move this window and make it smaller. There is also a one-hand mode, which is definitely an advantage with such large displays. What I don't like that much, however, is the "always on display" which, however, is not always is switched on. Content such as the time or the battery level is displayed on the switched-off screen only 10 seconds long displayed, which is not the point of a "always switched on displays".
Unfortunately, some bloatware was initially pre-installed with Netflix, TikTok, Amazon, Amazon Music, Facebook, LinkedIn, WPS Office, Spotify, AliExpress and a number of games. Fortunately, all apps prouninstall without problems.
Performance – (very) good
Under the hood is the Helio G96 from MediaTek, which is supported by 6 GB of RAM and either 64 or 128 GB of flash memory. The internal memory can proeasily expanded via a microSD card.
Prozessor coupled with the 90 Hertz ensures a good, fast and mostly smooth performance. Apps start and close pleasantly quickly and there are very few stutters or delays. The RAM management is also quite satisfactory, which was a criticism of the predecessor. Only in the camera app or with more intensive use do you quickly notice that the Redmi Note 11S is just a mid-range smartphone. One Real GT Master Edition for example, it is still a good bit better, but the performance of the Note 11S is also more than impressive for 250 euros.
Battery – long runtimes
The 5.000 mAh battery ensures fabulous runtimes, because at the end of the day I usually still had between 5 and 5,5 hours with a screen-on time of 40 to 49 hours Procent battery left. Thus, even heavy users should be able to get through a day without charging and if the battery should ever run out, it can be fully charged in about 33 minutes with the included 70 watt power supply, which is completely acceptable.
Camera - neat
One of my biggest criticisms of the predecessor was the disappointing camera, not worthy of the RRP of €250. I am all the more pleased that Redmi is now installing a new main sensor with 11 megapixels in the 108S, which is also quite large at 1/1.52 inch. The ultra wide-angle camera with 8 megapixels has (unfortunately) remained the same and the manufacturer has not made any changes to the two sensors, each with 2 megapixels for macro shots and depth effects. A 13 megapixel front camera is responsible for selfies.
The main camera has not only received a big upgrade on paper, but also in the final image quality compared to its predecessor. Above all, the color rendering is now much better and simply more realistic. In addition, there is a good dynamic range and solid sharpness, although I would have expected a little more here with 108 megapixels.
As soon as the light conditions get worse, you should definitely use the night mode, which exposes the pictures for a few seconds in order to be able to deliver better results. The quality is absolutely fine for 250 euros, but I would have expected a little more from such a large sensor. The Realme GT Master Edition or that HUAWEI nova 9 SE have a little more to offer.
A well-known sensor is used for the ultra-wide-angle camera, which is disappointing in some entry-level and mid-range smartphones, but actually provides solid and usable recordings in the Redmi Note 11S. Here, too, colors are reproduced as naturally as possible and, compared to some competitors, images are not distorted too much at the edges.
The dedicated macro camera is completely unusable, as is the case with all of the entry-level competition. Even in good lighting conditions, photos are far too blurry and quickly begin to rustle. I recommend using the main camera for macro photos. Adequate selfies are possible with the front camera.
Other - good speakers, great fingerprint sensor and more
Redmi installs stereo speakers, which are sufficiently loud and sound great up to a certain volume.
The smartphone can be unlocked via the fingerprint sensor on the side of the frame. The sensor is easy to reach with one hand and is convincing across the board in terms of both speed and reliability.
Last but not least, I would like to dedicate myself to the vibration motor. At least for an RRP of 249,90 euros, it conveys a sufficiently high-quality feel in the hand, but sounds a bit annoying, especially when the device is lying on a table and vibrates with incoming notifications. A Samsung Galaxy A52, OnePlus North CE or I live V21 5G are still noticeably worse here, so I'm quite satisfied with the vibration motor of the Note 11S.
The Redmi Note 11S is a good mid-range smartphone for 250 euros, which does not set new standards in this price range, but can convince in almost all points: Starting with the good workmanship, the great 90 Hertz OLED display and the good performance up to to the outstanding battery life, the sufficiently fast loading times, the decent camera and the good speakers. Only the missing 5G and the macro camera can be criticized, but since there are still many mid-range smartphones without 5G and with a bad macro camera, this is not a real point of criticism for me.
For currently 220 euros (only at Amazon) you can go for the Note 11S without hesitation and get a great smartphone, although I would recommend all potential buyers both the regular one Notes 11, last year's Notes 10 Pro as well as the Real GT Master Edition don't let it out of your sight. With the Note 11 you have to Processor and the camera have to make slight compromises, but you only have to pay just under 200 euros for this. The grade 10 Pro on the other hand, it offers a 30 Hertz OLED display, a higher quality housing and a better macro camera for currently 40-120 euros more, but can be used with the Proprocessor cannot quite keep up with the Note 11S. The GT Master Edition from the Realme for 20 to 80 euros more (depending on the shop) tops the display, the performance, the camera, the charging speeds and the vibration motor. No matter how you decide in the end, you will not make a mistake with any of the smartphones mentioned.
We would like to thank Xiaomi Germany for providing the Redmi Note 11S!